Archive for August, 2007

Nani’s Screamer

Nani & GiggsyThe Portuguese youngster handed United and all of its fans a lifeline with a wonderful strike from 30 yards out to beat the Spurs. The game was rather a festive one especially during the final 20 mins of the second half where we saw Spurs have a potential goal cleared inches from the goal line and a sketchy penalty claim ignored by the linesman. Spurs were really treating during the late stages of the match, especially through Berbatov (whose foot skills and off the ball runs continue to amaze me…buy this lad Ferguson!!!) and with Ferdinand’s mental lapses reoccurring I thought a late goal was due for the Spurs. Somehow we prevailed and managed to preserve the advantage given to us by Nani’s wonderful strike.

But despite the win I still have growing concerns with United’s attack. Tevez looked like a lost soul in the lone striker position while the midfield seems to loose their predatory instinct once they approach the opponent’s half of the pitch. Carrick wasn’t very impressive in this game as he seemed confused with his role, with Hargreaves playing the holding role he should have been more adventurous going up front where some damages can be done with his deadly passes instead of seating deep. We had no right-wing threat, except when Nani ventured there or Wes Brown over lapped, which made the side one dimensional as United started most of their attacks through the middle which made it easy for Spurs to defend against.

Hopefully with time things will change as the lads continue to become for comfortable with each other but we still need a striker added to the roaster.

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Not Panic Time, Pretty Bloody Close Though

Tevez rues a missed opportunity

It is week three of the Premiership, the Red Devils have 2pts out of a possible nine and are sitting 16th in the league. Their poor start, by United standards, isn’t due to an awful display on the pitch because in all three matches United were the better side but rather due to lack of striking option up front. During the off-season I eagerly awaited the signing of an out and out striker/central forward by the Gaffer but to no avail. Instead what we got was Tevez, who without a doubt is a brilliant player but to me was not what United so desperately needs. In my opinion Tevez is exactly like Rooney, a person who feeds off of another striker – who likes to create havoc for the defense by roam freely behind his side’s attacking options and like Rooney Tevez doesn’t function effectively as a lone striker. While mouth-watering the partnership of Rooney and Tevez may be, there still lies the problem of the 5-4-1 formation and fitness problems. Those two reasons were why I thought it necessary for the Gaffer to sign a central forward like in the mold of a Van Nistelroy (who would function well in a 5-4-1). Remember that fantastic free flowing football we saw from United last season, that was brought to you courtesy to the Gaffer sticking with a 4-4-2 formation but thanks to a depleted attacking core we’ve seen the return of the dreaded 5-4-1 formation which the players have never fared well with. The formation always gives us a lot of possession but with little or no goals.

Like my post title suggests it is not time to panic as we’re only three games into the season but certain adjustments needs to be made by the gaffer between now and Rooney’s return or we fans can kiss the title chase goodbye. Hopefully Saha and Ole will be fit before then to partner up with Tevez, and we should have Ronaldo back after the next two games.

Late Premiership Predictions:

League Title Contenders – United or Liverpool

Relegation Battle – Middlesbrough, Fulham, Birmingham, Derby and West Ham

The Community Shield

United RejoicesHow I’ve longed for this weekend, this weekend marks the beginning of actual watchable football as well as the beginning of United’s League Championship defense. I was also looking forward to see how the new signings would fair in an actual competitive match along with their adjustment to the pace of the premiership. But before I go further, I noticed the absence of both Ballack and Robben from the starting line-up and from the bench even, it seems like the reports yesterday of Real Madrid raiding those two might have some truth to them.

Now back to the game between Manchester United and Chel$ki, unlike the FA Final last season this wasn’t a bore-fest and we got quite some open play between the sides despite a fair amount of defensive minded players on the pitch during the first half action. Old guard Gigsy opened the scoring at 35th minute mark after connecting with a fine cross from Evra but then new Chel$ki signing Malouda brought things level right at the end of half. The second half brought about the same as the first, United continued to look treating and quick on the ball while Chel$ki looked to slow things down and keep ball possession. Chances came for both sides but things still remained level as the final whistle was blown. Van der Saar turned up to be the hero of the match with his performance during the penalty kicks, he saved all of Chel$ki’s attempts as United couldn’t miss from the spot.

A good win/confidence booster for the lads and a good introduction to the EPL for the new signings. Whether this season turns out to be one where the Gaffer fills up his trophy chest remains to be seen but I know for sure this season isn’t going to the a two-horse race like last season was, so The Red Devil must be at their highest skill level from hence forth.

Image Source: BBC Sports